Allegations continue to surface that a staff member for California Democratic Rep. Lois Capps attempted to help a fellow staffer escape jail time after he drove while drunk and killed a young woman. Those allegations have apparently prompted an investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department, Fox News reports, into the aftermath of the death of 27-year-old Mallory Rae Dies.
Dies died last December 11 after being struck in a Santa Barbara crosswalk by a Dodge Caliber driven by Raymond Victor Morua III on Dec. 6.
According to freelance journalist Peter Lance, the FBI is investigating Mollie Culver, the district director for Capps, for allegedly forging the signature of Morua, a district representative for Capps, on forms from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Lance asserts that the papers were signed so Morua would be sent to a treatment facility in Los Angeles for veterans instead of facing jail.
In his five-part series in the Santa Barbara News-Press published in April about the case, Lance stated that Morua was on Capps’s payroll until Dec. 10 and that Culver was sending text messages to Morua’s fiancée Teresa Montoya that indicated she would stand behind Morua. However, after Dies was taken off life support, Capps allegedly had no further communication with Morua or Montoya, and claimed Morua had already been fired on Dec. 8.
Morua, an Iraq war veteran, pleaded guilty on April 15 to hitting Dies and fleeing the scene. He had left a holiday party hosted by the Santa Barbara Independent before the accident. On May 29, he was sentenced to fifteen years to life for manslaughter and another five years for fleeing the crime scene.
Dies’s family has filed a lawsuit against CRep. apps on the basis of their allegation that Morua was working in an official capacity for her when he attended the party and later hit Dies. Capps’s office has responded that Morua was not invited to the party by Capps and instead may have grabbed the invite after seeing it on Capps’s desk, Fox News reports.
Lance states that Culver could face five years in prison if she did indeed falsify the facts on the VA form and that she may have to face other charges if she made an unauthorized use of federal records.
Fox News interviewed Capps’s spokesman Chris Meagher in April, and Meagher said that Lance’s report was “full of inaccuracies.” However, Morua’s lawyer, Darryl Genis, said, “The loyalties surrounding this tragedy are extremely incestuous, particularly when you consider that my client, Raymond Morua, was with Lois Capps’s press secretary, Chris Meagher, at the party…It defies belief that Capps’s district director would risk breaking federal law to get him out of Dodge and into treatment if he wasn’t working for them.”
Meanwhile, Dies’s father Matt told Lance, “The fact that the FBI and Justice Department are taking these matters seriously is a great comfort to my wife and me. I only hope they go all the way and leave no stone unturned in trying to get at the truth.”
The FBI’s Los Angeles field office told FoxNews.com they could neither “confirm nor deny” whether the FBI was conducting an investigation.